Siddle hands Australia advantage
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 20th August 2009
Australia fought back to wrest the control of the fifth and the final Test from the clutches of England. At the end of the day England scored a par total of 307 but the loss of eight wickets at the end of the day will hurt them. The extended final session saw England score 127 but lost five wickets as Australia made sure that the Day ended with the visitors claiming a their share of positives.
Strauss had won the toss and elected to bat first to drive home the advantage. But he lost Cook early to a well bowled out-swinger from Siddle which he edged to Ponting at second slip who took a fine catch. Bell joined Strauss in the middle and it was evident that Australian bowlers will opt to blast him out. First it was Siddle who opted this strategy and then Johnson took over the job. Siddle could not get his bouncers right and so Bell looked rarely troubled but Johnson was able to direct the short-pitched deliveries into the rib-cage of Bell who struggled to get away from the firing line. With the metronomic Clark at the other who settled into the outside off-stump line Bell rarely looked at ease.
Strauss meanwhile absorbed the pressure and ticked along as he kept the scoreboard moving with his nudges and occasional boundaries. Strauss and Bell fought it out as they took England to lunch at 108 for one with Strauss reaching a well-deserved fifty. But after lunch Australia was able to prise out Strauss as he himself contributed to his dismissal. A wide ball from Hilfenhaus was nibbled through to the keeper by Strauss as England read 114 for 2. Strauss and Bell added 102 in 142 balls. Collingwood replaced Strauss at the crease and he dropped the anchor straightaway. Bell meanwhile moved into the third gear and was accelerating with his silken stroke play. It seemed that he would once again play those attractive 30’s and get out but this time he made it count as he raised into the forties and then crossed the fifty run mark.
The pair added 62 in 19.4 overs and just when it seemed that they had got the innings back on track Siddle once again exposed Collingwood’s weakness outside the off stump as he gave Hussey a catch at gully. Trott joined Bell in the middle and while the debutant took his time to get settled to the pace of international cricket Bell fell soon after the tea interval. The score at tea time read 180 for 3 and it looked like England was going to push Australia into a corner. But Bell’s dismissal just after the tea interval changed the complexion off the game.
Bell inside-edged onto his stumps a delivery from Siddle and slowly Australia applied the pressure. Trott was a picture of confidence and patience as he went about his work with minimum fuss. Clark tested his penchant for working off-stump deliveries through midwicket, but barring some anxious moments the right-hander was assured off himself. He along with Matt Prior added 48 for the fifth wicket before Johnson got rid off Prior on 18 with a slower ball. Andrew Flintoff playing in his final Test rarely looked comfortable against a fired-up Johnson as he was peppered with fast short-pitched deliveries before he played a loose cut to edge behind to the keeper. Trott meanwhile looked set for a big haul when an alert Katich got rid off him with some smart piece of thinking. With Swann’s wicket at the late end off play Australia have balanced out the first day’s play.